- When does it make sense for me to do a salivary hormone test?
- I am taking the contraceptive pill. Does is it still make sense to do the hormone test?
- I am taking a hormonal compound – can I still do the test?
- Can my doctor carry out the test?
- What exactly do I receive after taking the test?
- What happens if I change my mind? Can I cancel the order?
- Why do I take to take several samples in the morning?
- Which factors can manipulate the results of my salivary test?
- How long until I can expect my results?
- I have received my results. What now?
- If I am suffering from a hormonal imbalance, is it necessary to take a hormonal compound to correct a deficiency or excesses?
When does it make sense for me to do a salivary hormone test?
Our tests can be carried out in different situations. A salivary hormone test can provide information on the condition of your hormonal balance and whether your body is producing all hormones sufficiently. A salivary hormone test can be very informative, especially when you are suffering from symptoms that can be caused by a hormonal imbalance, such as chronic fatigue, depression, blemished skin, thinning hair or hair loss, PMS, sleeping disorders or stress. They can also be useful if you are not able to lose weight, despite a healthy diet and exercise, or if you suspect that you are coming close, or are already in the menopause.
If you have already decided to level out a deficiency using a certain therapy, it is advisable, from time to time, to check if your dosage is set correctly and whether the treatment has had any effect. This is especially the case if you having been using the same treatment for several years, due to the fact that the hormone production of the body changes with increasing age; the therapy must be regularly adjusted accordingly.
I am taking the contraceptive pill. Does is it still make sense to do the hormone test?
Even if you are taking the contraceptive pill, a hormone test can be very informative. A salivary hormone test can answer the question whether the prescribed pill is the right one for you or whether it is causing a deficiency or excess of certain hormones.
Many women take the same unsuitable pill for years without realising that any possible complaints they are experiencing are being caused by this pill. To begin with, doctors usually prescribe the pill which is known to be successful for most women – but not all women. When this prescribed pill is not suitable, it is not until the woman taking it associates her symptoms with the pill that the doctor then begins to adapt the hormonal composition of the prescribed compound by offering a different type of pill. Without an exact hormone test the doctor can only use the symptoms described by the patient to determine which pill may or may not be a suitable alternative. Many women work their way through a number of different pills until they find one that is right for them - even though every adjustment puts strain on the body. A specific adjustment with regard to your hormonal levels is much more effective. In this case, a salivary hormone test can be very helpful.
I am taking a hormonal compound – can I still do the test?
Yes, the same applies here as with the contraceptive pill: A hormone test can provide information on whether the hormonal compound is being correctly dosed for your body, or whether it is possibly causing a deficiency or excess of the certain hormones. Particularly when taking hormonal compounds, it is advisable to check at regular intervals whether your dosage is still set correctly, as the hormone production of the body changes with increasing age.
Can my doctor carry out the test?
Theoretically, it is also possible for your general practitioner to carry out the hormone test. However, not every doctor offers salivary tests for hormonal determination. Normally, if you request a hormone test, your doctor is likely to do a blood test - but blood tests have quite a few disadvantages in comparison to salivary tests:
- A salivary test specifically analyses the hormones and not the proteins that are attached to them. These “free” hormones are actually available for the cells to use, whereas the hormones bound by proteins are not. Blood tests measure both types of hormones in an undifferentiated manner, meaning that they cannot accurately tell us the proportion of hormones that are available for the cells to use.
- The blood is drawn from a vein using a needle, whereas the saliva is painlessly collected using a type of straw. If you find injections unpleasant, your body may react to the forthcoming blood test by releasing the stress hormone cortisol. This inevitably causes the measuring of cortisol levels to be manipulated.
- The samples for the salivary test can be easily collected at home, by yourself. This means that you do not have to rely on the opening hours of your general practitioner. Many hormones must be tested at certain times due to hormone production being exposed to fluctuations at different times of the day; thus, a sample for the determination of melatonin levels must be collected at two o’clock in the morning in complete darkness. In the case of cortisol, the daily progression of the hormone levels is more accurate than a single sample; this means collecting several samples over the course of the day. All this is not possible for your general practitioner.
- In the case of other hormones that are not depicted in such a daily progress diagram, due to the fluctuations at different times of the day, it makes sense to create an average value from several samples, rather than just a momentary insight of your hormone levels provided by a blood test.
What exactly do I receive after taking the test?
You will receive a report from us which includes your results. These are represented graphically. By using the coloured markings you can quickly determine whether your levels are within the reference range or whether they deviate. If your levels are deviant, the graph clearly shows in which direction your levels are deviating (too low, too high) and to what extent. Additionally, your measurement results are compared with the reference data. The reference data, which is used for the tested parameters, depends on your gender, age and the time of the saliva collection. Furthermore, there are different reference fields for women depending on the phase of their cycle, the intake of hormonal compounds or contraceptives (the pill, coil), hysterectomy and menopause. In addition to your results, we also explain the functions of the tested hormones and which symptoms are caused by a deficiency or excess. Using your results, your doctor or alternative practitioner can begin a suitable therapy in order to correct your hormone levels, if necessary.
What happens if I change my mind? Can I cancel the order?
If you change your mind about doing the salivary hormone test after having placed your order, please inform us via e-mail, fax or letter. A cancellation is possible up to 2 weeks after purchasing the test.
Why do I take to take several samples in the mornings?
The pituitary gland in the forebrain (the “hormone control centre”) has a direct and indirect influence on our endocrine (hormone) system, by pulsatively releasing certain hormones. This means that our hormones are not distributed in a consistent manner, but rather in larger amounts over the course of the day - every one to three hours. Because of this, hormones are subject to fluctuations at different times of the day, so it makes sense to mix several samples from one “distribution period” in order to determine an average value.
Which factors can manipulate the results of my salivary test?
The following factors can have an influence on hormone levels and the results of the salivary hormone test:
Bleeding gums, gum infections or wounds in the mouth can lead to small amounts of blood being mixed with the saliva sample. This is problematic because the hormones in the blood have a concentration of up to 100 times higher than those in the saliva, and even the smallest amount of blood leads to the results showing an excessive hormone level. Therefore, it is important to examine the saliva sample for any red colouring. If a red colouring can be seen then the sample must be discarded. The mouth, as well as the collection container, must be washed twice, thoroughly with water. After 10 to 15 minutes a new sample can be collected. If you have constantly bleeding gums you must choose a time that is best to avoid blood admixture.
Food products and supplements containing hormones
Some food products contain hormones and if traces of these are left in the mouth they can influence the measured results by indicating falsely high hormones levels. The mouth should, therefore, be rinsed thoroughly after consumption of these foods and before saliva collection. Alternatively, you can avoid eating these food products on the day of saliva collection. Food products that contain hormones include milk and egg products, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage), and cucumbers. As well as this, supplements containing soya lecithin or isoflavone compounds can influence the measurement of oestradiol levels.
Hormones and hormonal compounds will have an influence on your measured hormone levels. Many women use contraceptives in the form of hormones, including the contraceptive pill, hormone plasters, ring, coil, depot injections and rods. Hormones can be administered in various dosage forms: for example, capsules, tablets, gels, creams, pastilles or drops. Please write down on the sample dispatch note, what kind of hormone you take, so we can choose the right reference range for you. Two to five days before the saliva collection, all sublingual hormones (drops, pastilles, etc.) should only be taken with water, leaving no remnants in the mouth. Hormone gels and creams should be stopped 48 hours before collection and tablets and capsules should no longer be taken 12 to 24 hours before you are due to collect your saliva (this does not include the contraceptive pill). As, especially when applied through creams and gels, hormones remain in the body for several months, these measures only assure that the results will not show falsely high hormone levels. They will not show what your levels would look like without any medication at all, but whether your current dose is too high/low. When applying hormone creams and gels by hand the active substance can remain on the hands for a while before it is absorbed. In the meantime, this substance can be transferred to other objects (bed linen, clothes, etc.) and people (your partner, children, or when shaking hands with someone, for example) when you touch them. It is, therefore, important to always wash your hands after applying hormone gels and creams. Also for this reason, it is important to wash your hands and, if possible, wear disposable gloves when collecting your saliva sample – otherwise there is a risk that your results will show falsely high hormone levels.
Vigorous physical activities of any kind (physically strenuous jobs, weightlifting and other sports, even garden work) quickly increase the distribution of testosterone. Due to this, it makes sense to refrain from doing any strenuous activities one day before the saliva collection, ultimately avoiding a manipulation of the results.
How long does it take until I can expect my results?
From the moment we receive your samples it usually takes around 2 weeks until you receive your results.
I have received the results. What now?
As well as your results, we will also send you information about the effects of the tested hormones and the symptoms caused by a deficiency or excess. After this, your doctor can expertly interpret the results and, with your help, find a solution that is specific to your complaints.
If I am suffering from a hormonal imbalance, is it necessary to take a hormonal compound to correct a deficiency or excesses?
No, not necessarily. It is your choice if you wish to correct the hormonal deficiency or excess. Apart from hormone substitute therapy with bio-identical hormones (hormones that are accepted by the body) which can be initiated by your doctor, there are also other treatment methods available. It is important to choose the method that you are most comfortable with. In the case of a light hormonal deficiency/excess it can help to try a gentle correctional method. However, if the symptoms do not cease or the hormonal deficiency/excess is strongly pronounced you should definitely ask your doctor for advice.
Depending on what is convenient for you there are many different approaches to choose from – the following is an alphabetically sorted list*:
Ayurveda or Traditional Chinese Medicine
Both Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) use various methods to bring the hormone levels back in balance. Discuss your hormone test results with an Ayurveda or TCM specialist doctor or alternative practitioner.
The treatment with bioidentical hormones involves specifically supplying the body with whatever it is lacking. It is important to understand that bioidentical hormones such as those found in the contraceptive pill have a different molecular structure than the hormones produced by the body – therefore this can cause side effects as the react differently than the hormones produced by the body. Bioidentical hormones, however, comply with the exact structure of the hormones of the body and can be recognised as such by the own cells.
The bioresonance therapy, BRT in short or also know as the MORA therapy, works with electromagnetic oscillations which are led straight into the body, for more information please consult with a specialist.
The craniosacral therapy was developed from osteopathy. By touching specific areas the energy flow of the body should be corrected and the self-healing properties of the body are activated.
What we eat affects our hormonal balance. Certain hormones, pre-hormones as well other components important for the production of hormones (e.g. Amino acids, vitamins) are included in food products. We rely on a correct diet because our body can not produce some of the important components. If you know what your body is lacking or containing too much, then you can adjust your diet to suit. If you are still unsure about any points after receiving your results, please talk to your doctor or a nutritional adviser to inform yourself about which food products you should be consuming more, or less from.
There are different homeopathic substances available at pharmacies which can help the body to produce the missing hormones by itself. For more information please talk to your pharmacist or a specialised practitioner.
There are many plants which have been proven to stimulate the production of certain hormones; if you know which hormone deficiency you are suffering from then you can correct the hormonal balance using dragees or herbal teas available at you pharmacy.
Orthomolecular medicine especially uses vitamins and minerals to regulate a biochemical imbalance of the body. A specialist can offer more information if you should decide on using this method.
Athletic activities can also have an influence on the hormonal balance. For example, physical effort increases the testosterone and cortisol levels for a short period of time. This can be specifically used to manipulate your hormone levels.
*This is only a list of the different treatment options. Neither the order nor the listing of the treatments represent an encouragement or evaluation in general of the methods of treatment stated above.